Kevin Keller Given 4 Issues To Show How Comics Do Queers

Kevin Keller, the gay Archie character launched last year, is getting his own four-part spin-off series and will show “how Keller arrived in Riverdale, where he’s become close pals with Archie and the gang. But it will also deal with heavier fare than the typical ‘Archie’ comic — including how the character struggled with coming out to his parents, and bullying.” Then it will revert back to typical Archie storylines, including getting a first job (and getting fired for being gay), trying out for the baseball team (and getting bullied by jocks for being gay), and running for student body president (only to get attacked by his opponents with gay baiting ads).

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  • Michael in Toronto

    Down the road, Kevin Keller confesses his middle name is Kyle, coming out as a white supremacist.

  • Ron

    Wow — apparently being a gay man in America means that you have to have a smooth, anorexic, twinky body & you have to be WHITE, with blonde hair and blue eyes.

    As an ethnic minority, I have experienced the racism & hatred within the gay community. Just because I look Middle-eastern, and I’m fat & hairy, doesn’t mean that I’m any less part of the gay community than those twinky blonde white guys who wear Abercrombie & Fitch t-shirts (even when they’re 45 years old).

    But white gay men generally only want to associate (socially & romantically) with other white gay men. It’s very frustrating for us gay men of color (Asian, Middle-eastern, African-American, Latino), especially because almost all of the power brokers in the LGBT community are white, and most of us men of color come from families /cultures /religions where homosexuality is taboo or strongly condemned.

    You white gay guys think you got it bad? For us gay men of color, not only do we have to deal with the struggles of “coming out” and being gay in a straight world, but we also have to deal with a “gay community” that refuses to completely embrace us either.

    It’s really the gay community’s dirty little secret. But you can’t ever really openly accuse white gay men of being racist, because they’ll squawk immediately, “But I’m a Democrat!” or “I support President Obama!”

  • Codswallop

    @Ron: Oh, boo-hoo.

    Archie comics already has a fat character. They’ve done that Afternoon Special character.” Yeah, they made him otherwise bland and acceptable because gay is the entire “issue” he’s supposed to represent. It’s a COMIC BOOK. An unsophisticated one at that, which addresses social issues on a basic level. What were you expecting? An overweight left-handed gay Muslim with a peanut allergy? If you’re waiting for a gay, fat, hairy (your words) Archie character to address you specifically…. well, don’t hold your breath.

    It’s mostly bullshit that the “gay community” is some horrible, racist entity, which isn’t to say there are no gay racists. The leadership of gay organizations could and should be more racially diverse but how much of that is due to racism and how much of it is due to people of other races not joining activist groups? They don’t go door-to-door looking for leaders; you have to apply. Can you name someone who was passed over for a position due to their race?

    Gay ‘people of color’ are too often unwilling to come out to their own communities and educate them by example, too afraid of possible rejection. But they’re Johnny-on-the-spot to complain about how oppressed they are by the gay community. And let’s make one thing clear. No matter what your race, religion, or credo, nobody is obligated to have sex with you, which is often the real issue. If you want to complain that the gay community is shallow and too-looks obsessed, fine. But get in line.

  • Allen D.

    AMEN Codswallop.

  • Ron

    @Codswallop: FAIL.

    1) Archie Comics chose to depict a stereotypical gay young man or teenager as being white, with blonde hair & blue eyes. Why does Kevin Keller have to be so ostensibly white? If he had brown or black hair, at least his ethnicity would have been ambiguous — he could have been Caucasian, Latino, or Middle-Eastern. Why do you think Brawny paper towels changed their drawing of the man on their logo a couple years ago, from being that of an obviously white man, to being a drawing of an ethnically ambiguous man? To appear more inclusive in their advertising.

    2) Not all white gay men are racist. But many white gay men are closed-minded. If you are a gay white man living in cosmopolitan cities such as New York, Chicago, L.A., Dallas, or Washington DC, and almost all of your gay male friends are also white…..you are either racist or closed-minded.

    3) The leadership & executive positions of gay organizations & media are dominated by whites. It’s pretty ironic for a movement grounded on “equality” and “diversity.” There are actually a good number of people of ethnic minorities who work at the grassroots level, but they aren’t promoted to higher positions of influence. People like Joe Solmonese, Dan Savage (& his “Ken” doll husband), Michelangelo Signorile, etc. are the face of gay organizations & media because white gay people have more political clout and are able to fund-raise more than an equivalent person of color.

    4) So now it’s still somehow our (gay men of color)’s fault? Let me be clear, it is, on average, much easier to be a white gay man, even from an evangelical Christian household, than it is to be a gay man from an ethnic minority.

    As for “coming out” to my “community” (ethnic group) and educating people of my ethnic group, why should that be my burden alone when most white gay men refuse to reach out to me? Oh, and by the way, the way ethnic minorities feel about gays affects all of you guys too, particularly when it comes time for elections.

    Remember Prop 8 in California? Did you know that overwhelming majorities of African-Americans, Latinos, and some groups of Asian-Americans (particularly Koreans) voted to ban same-sex marriage in California? Looks like when white gays don’t reach out to minorities, white gays are affected too. Oops.

  • OhYeah

    I wonder if those complaining about the appearance of the gay Archie comics character ever even bought an Archie comic. Or are they geared toward young girls (and some boys) that prefer everybody look like the Bratz dolls and the Bratz boys. The comics is a business, after all.

  • Codswallop

    “Why does Kevin Keller have to be so ostensibly white?”

    The readership is white. I’ll be happy to revise my view if you can demonstrate that Archie, invented in the 1940s, now has a primary “people of color” readership. Don’t you get it? Kevin Keller is there for ONE reason, to present a gay character. Sometime soon Riverdale will probably have a Muslim character and he’ll be squeaky-clean too, without any other quality to complicate the portrayal.

    “But many white gay men are closed-minded.” Hold onto your hair. PEOPLE are close-minded.

    “The leadership & executive positions of gay organizations & media are dominated by whites.” Again, can you point to a person who was passed over when they deserved a position and didn’t get it?

    It’s not that much unlike the Republican party. The fastest way to get famous is to be a black Republican. You’ll be in practically EVERY picture, right there in the middle because they want to say, “See? We’re diverse!” They’ll put you on EVERY flyer they hand out! Gay groups actively WANT to place black people in leadership positions, if for no other reason than to refute accusations like yours, but WHO exactly is lining up?!

    “It’s easier to be white gay man from a fundamentalist family than to be a gay ethnic minority”? That’s bullshit. It depends on the situation, now doesn’t it? But I will say this. It’s white gay men and lesbians who pioneered gay rights. I understand why other ethnic/racial groups have yet to stand up, but stop blaming all your issues on white gay men. We’re not your enemy or the momma you’re so afraid will reject you that you won’t come out.

    And unlike gays, a racial group in its place of origin doesn’t experience prejudice. Puerto Ricans don’t face racism in Puerto Rico. I’ve never heard of a parent rejecting their child because they suddenly discovered they were black. But gay people get it from all sides, in every place.

  • Peter Rider

    Well, personally, I love gay minorities. Latino men, Black men, middle eastern men… Love em all. If you know what I mean ;)

    In all seriousness, I feel for you, because not only are you racial minorities in America or other white countries, but your also gay, a second minority. So your a minority group, within a minority group. I agree that you probably have a much more difficult time, considering that you still have racism to deal with, albeit it is starting to fade out thankfully, as well as homophobics.

  • MTTM

    Peter Rider : That’s silly. Name me one Black-run country where it would be easier for gay men of color to live than in any White-run country.

  • Joe

    Okay, so Archie is a shallow, dim witted comic. But give the company some props; I don’t see and major comic book company (Marvel or DC) introducing new gay characters

  • Peter Rider

    Well, yeah I agree that middle eastern and black or african countries aren’t very gay friendly. Correct me If I’m wrong, but some South American countries are quite gay friendly aren’t they? So thats at least Latino gays covered. Im just saying, for example, that a gay middle eastern man in America is going to face discrimination for his sexuality, AND for his race, as there are still many people in America who are racist against middle eastern people, even 10 years after 9/11.

    Personally I live in Australia, and I know that here middle eastern people are at times abused or discriminated against for their race (see: cronulla riots). I’m just saying it must be tough for LGBT people who are also a racial minority in their country, as they face twice the discrimination. The fact that I said white countries was just because it is in those countries that they would be minorities.

  • Man

    We have to take baby steps. It’s nice to see a gay character in a comic. It would be nicer if he were not stereotypical at all, but I was happy when I read this article. I’m not saying that the lgbt community shouldn’t fight for more visibility. Howeveer, we can’t slam something that obviously has good intentions the second it does not meet an expectation.

  • Mattybear

    This is old news, both DC and Marvel have had LGB characters in the past. (Quicksilver, Northstar…)

    But on to the race issue. National groups do not discriminate based on race, I find it funny that you would think so and so would…..

    Urvashi Vaid, former head of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. Now head of the Arcus Foundation, Jon Stryker’s LGBT rights group.

    Malcolm R. Gage, Jr. Sales Director/Board Member,of the Victory Fund

    Would you like more? There are a lot of past and current members of various LGBT orgs. that are not white. Stop attacking our community based on this tired and false claim.

  • Mattybear

    One more point. I agree with some of the other posters here. It is difficult to find individuals of other racial groups who are willing to join national groups. It actually may have something to do with economic situations. So in a backward way it is racial.

    At least in the past, it was much more difficult to find individuals of other racial groups who were able to volunteer time, energy and money to LGBT causes. And that is how many of the leaders of LGBT rights groups moved up to their current positions. Not all of course but many.

  • MTTM

    Peter Rider : But you’re leaving out the third, and biggest, source of discrimination those individuals face : the homophobia in their own minority ethnic communities, far worse than from the white majority.

  • Kage

    As a young, white, smooth, fit, gay male with blond hair — I felt the need to make reference to the original beef with this article — that being gay in america or anywhere else for that matter meant being a white, blond, anorexic twink who doesn’t associate with anyone other than his kind — Well for one this blond twink has been in a serious relationship with a brown boy for almost 2 years.. And another point of clarification… Just because some guys hit the gym and eat right doesnt mean that they’re anorexic… Enough of the soap-boxing already… I wish we could just do away with labels altogether…Twink, bear, skinny, fat, smooth, hairy, gay, straight, white, brown, black… Who really f’ing cares people?!! Just be who you are and proud to be as you are.. I happen to have friends of all ages groups, ethnicities and sexual orientations… And what’s with this obsession of continually locking ourselves into ‘minority vs majority’?… IMO so-called minority groups (incl. us gays of all races, genders and body types) perpetuate the minority mentality by further splintering themselves into minority factions … Pretty soon everyone who in some way feels ostracized will want to have their own parade or day or soap box to stand on just because they happen to be different or look different in some way compared to the minority group they’re supposedly already a part of — a minority group that is also ranting on and on about not being accepted by the general population… But wait… Crazy observation here but is there really such a thing as the ‘general population’ anymore? We’ve become a generation so hell bent on labeling and classifying ourselves into being this way or that way that we continue to distance ourselves not only from those we’re supposedly wanting to accept us… But from those who already should be accepting us unconditionally… Wouldn’t it be so much easier to just forget about this race, or that race… Strip away the labels, do away with gay this, straight that… Have ONE parade, ONE day.. ONE cause that celebrates the human race… Then we can all get on with more important things… Like living our lives with far less things to bitch about.

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